It’s unfortunate that I’d spent only a few days in Scotland because it is stunning.
Before I get to the stunning parts of Scotland, let me tell you something about the United Kingdom:
While other parts of the world enjoy a ton of sun during the summertime, the UK gets soaked. I invested in a £7 parka and it was £7 well spent.
Since I had written for a golf publication and developed affection and respect for the game, a visit to St. Andrews in Scotland was a no-brainer.
The game of golf was born and developed 600 years ago in St. Andrews, where it rains so much that the people who live there are, on a drizzly day, how I am on an overcast day in SF: Walking around like it’s no big deal. Even the golf fans, most of whom seemed to be American, braved the cold, wind, and drizzle in short-sleeved shirts and shorts.
As can be expected, St. Andrews Golf Course was busy.
The world’s first golf course was surprisingly flat. I suspect the terrain wasn’t as much a challenge as the weather.
As one can expect, restaurants there take advantage of the tourism. (To no one’s surprise, more people were interested in the golf course than the school where Prince William and Kate Middleton met.) Restaurants like 1 Golf Place were covered with golf memorabilia and photos of famous golfers.
You’d think these tourist-oriented restaurants would charge way too much for way too little, but it wasn’t the case at 1 Golf Place. The piece of dory was, as you can see in the photo, bigger than my hand. At less than £9, value-wise, it was par for the course.
BAHAHAHAHA! BAHAHA! HAHA! HAHAHA!
Anyway, once you tear yourself away from the course and the lovely coast, the town is pretty quaint. Driving around, it was storybook scene after storybook scene.
Cities aren’t built like this anymore. There are definitely no more stone walls and definitely no more gothic arches like this:
So, the stunning parts of Scotland.
Driving away, one starts to appreciate the lack of high-rises. Without those gigantic eye sores in the way, you can see where the North Sea meets the ominous sky.
Have you ever seen anything so peaceful? One can imagine little fishing boats bobbing on the waves and men tilling the fields by hand; neighbors going on foot where a paved road now exists, walking along the stone wall and stopping for a smoke and a chat.
All that moisture makes the green extra lush and there are miles and miles of green in every direction.
And just about every five miles, there’s a church.
These stone churches in tiny villages aren’t anything like the gilded, ostentatious ones you find in big cities Paris or Milan. Centuries old, these churches were simple and modest. These were truly gathering places for the faithful, not monuments to wealth and vanity.
If villages aren’t your thing, there is Edinburgh.
Driving in Edinburgh is the stuff of nightmares. You’ll find tiny streets that don’t appear to be drivable because they are paved differently from the street and are filled with pedestrians, but apparently, the thing to do is just barge your way in because that’s the only way to get to the back of buildings.
In addition to the breath-taking architecture, the Edinburgh (pronounced “edin-bur-uh”) locals are friendly despite the hordes of crowds that come through this city! Specifically, servers in restaurants were cheery and helpful. Is there something in the Scottish water that keeps these folks in high spirits, unlike their London counterparts?
I’d spent only 1½ days in the historic city and was fatigued the majority of that time. Therefore, I want to return soon.
Plus, can you honestly resist a city that has a castle atop a hill?